Automatic Electric was actually the manufacturing unit that was part of the Theodore Gary Company, a long-time independent telco (and equipment manufacturing entity).
General Telephone, which was a separate independent telco (which was also once known as "Associated Telephone") purchased the Theodore Gary Company including AE in 1955. (Remember too, that General Tel was always picking up individual telcos and various telco "groups" all along as well. The Theodore Gary telco was just one company that General acquired throughout its history).
Five years earlier, General purchased Leich Electric, another telephone equipment manufacturing company that sold to the independent telcos. (I don't think that Leich was also a telco, maybe it was at one time that I'm not aware of?, but it was indeed an equipment manufacturing company).
By 1962, GT&E (the new name after General bought Sylvania Electronics in 1959) consolidated the operations of Leich into AE.
In 1988/89, GTE's equipment entity (now known as GTE Communications Systems) and AT&T Technologies (legacy Western Electric) went into a joint-venture known as AGCS. The 'A' stood for AT&T, the 'G' for GTE, and the 'C' and 'S' for Communications Systems. AT&T actually now owned 49% of what had been GTE-AE. The terms of the contract also stipulated that GTE (or its successor) could require AT&T (or its successor) to buy the remaining 51% of what had been GTE-AE within 15 years.
In 1996, AT&T spun-off what had been WECO (and Bell Labs) into Lucent. Thus, Lucent was now involved with AGCS, owning 49% of the old GTE-AE, and could be required to buy the remaining 51% by 2004.
And in 2004, this did happen. Lucent bought the remaining 51% of what had been GTE-AE from VeriZon (which was the merger of Bell Atlantic/ NYNEX, taking over what remained as GTE/Contel as of 2000).
And then in 2006, Lucent and Europe's Alcatel -- which had already bought out much of what had been IT(&)T's c.o. switch and PBX manufacturing (not including station equipment manufacturing, located at the old ITT plant in Corinth MS, which had been sold off earlier to former ITT executives, and is now known as Cortelco) -- merged into what is now known as "Alcatel-Lucent". (Also remember that the "new" -- as of the 1920s, that is -- IT&T acquired much of the pre-1920s AT&T/Bell/WECO operations in Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean).
Mark J. Cuccia markjcuccia at yahoo dot com Lafayette LA, formerly of New Orleans LA pre-Katrina